Can you imagine living trying to sit in class, doing your best to pay attention but the only thing you can think about is how cold and dark it is out? This is a harsh reality people with Seasonal Affective Disorder live with.
Seasonal Affective Disorder is a common form of depression that about three million Americans suffer from every year. Seasonal Affective Disorder, otherwise known as SAD, is caused by there being less sunlight in a day as the days get shorter in the fall and winter along with the temperatures dropping.
Saying it is a bad case of the winter blues is an understatement since the symptoms of SAD most commonly include irritability, tiredness or low energy, problems getting along with other people, hypersensitivity to rejection, oversleeping, appetite changes, and in some severe cases a feeling hopeless or worthless, and having a lack of interest in activities that you once thoroughly enjoyed.
This is a battle that 11% of the population in Pennsylvania faces in these normally harsh winter months which is why this strangely moderate climate is more than welcomed. Imagine how difficult to live and function with Seasonal Affective Disorder, even just from the point of view of being a teenager.
Having to try and concentrate in class would be the last thing on your mind which would definitely cause your grades to suffer. Since SAD is a form of depressions the methods of treating it are quite similar to those that are used to treat the most common forms of depression. These forms include the prescription drugs Paxil, Prozac, and Zoloft along with therapy. The problem with these prescription drugs are that they come with the side effects of nausea, increased appetite and weight gain, insomnia, dry mouth, and blurred vision.
Another issue is these prescription drugs cost anywhere from $150 to $280! Because of the symptoms of the antidepressants people with Seasonal Affective Disorder are given the option to take along with the how much it costs to purchase these medications, many of people chose to not take and purchase these pills. Instead they decide to try “Home Remedies” such as getting outside as much as possible and exercising as much as they can, but both of these things are hard to do when it is below freezing outside and the earth is covered in snow.
Due to this many people who either can’t afford the medicine or choose not to take it end up suffering all of winter. It is because of this that this strangely warm winter has served as a blessing to them. Normally this time of year they would be locked away in their homes waiting for the madness to end but instead they are now able to go out and about, and exercise in pretty average weather.
It is amazing how something as simple as exercising more frequently due to nice weather can lead to a person’s mental health being better. Let’s hope if this winter ever does get cold spell it will only last a short while and then we can transition into a nice warm spring and summer.